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Feature November 2012

George Baxter's Wood Engravings

Before George Baxter published his first colour print, he made his living from wood engraving.

When his brother, William Edwin Baxter, gave evidence for the renewal of Baxter's Patent in 1850 he claimed that the period when George Baxter was producing wood engravings was the only time he made a return for his genius and labours.

The vignette on the title page of The Sea-Side Companion engraved by George Baxter
The title page from The Sea-Side Companion published 1835
The title page from The Sea-Side Companion published 1835

George Baxter's first wood engravings were published in books in 1824. He continued to produce wood engravings even after he started to publish colour prints in 1834 and there are examples recorded as late as 1850.

The examples shown here were published in the book, The Sea-Side Companion that was published by Whittaker & Co. in 1835. This book contains more than 15 wood engravings, mostly in the early pages.

Altogether there are some 40 books recorded as containing these black and white wood engravings that were produced by Baxter.

A wood engraving by George Baxter from The Sea-Side Companion

George Baxter was considered to be one of the finest wood engravers of his day. The skills he used in producing these engravings were put to good use in his colour prints when engraving his steel key plates and detailing his colour blocks.